Some 20 Kassam rockets hit the western Negev on Thursday, shattering a period of relative calm during which the IDF refrained from conducting operations in the Gaza Strip and Palestinian gunmen largely kept from launching attacks against Israel.
Three of the rockets landed in Sderot, one hitting a warehouse and sending a woman into shock. The other rockets landed in open areas nearby.
After the start of the rocket barrage, the IAF launched pinpoint air strikes against Kassam rocket launchers in northern Gaza. It was not immediately known if anybody was wounded in the attacks.
The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the latest round of attacks, saying that it was in retaliation for IDF operations in the West Bank Wednesday which killed the senior-most Islamic Jihad commander in Bethlehem, as well as four other Jihad operatives.
Following the operations, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades also declared that it would no longer abide by an unofficial truce with Israel.
Head of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, Sheikh Raed Salah, will not obey a Jerusalem Police order to attend an investigation over his alleged incitement, the group announced Thursday, citing “information from credible sources” that an assassination was being planned against the leader.
In January, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz filed an indictment against Salah, charging him with incitement to violence and racism in a speech he made last year protesting the archaeological dig carried out at the Old City’s Mughrabi Gate.
During his sermon in Jerusalem’s Wadi Joz neighborhood on February 16, 2007, Salah urged supporters to start a third intifada in order to “save al-Aksa Mosque, free Jerusalem and end the occupation.”
A statement issued by the movement Thursday read: “The Israeli regime has been allowing our blood to be split by its continuing incitement, one of the results being the massacre in Shfaram perpetrated by the terrorist Eden Natan Zada and another the attempt to blow up the Church of Annunciation in Nazareth.”
In August 2005 Zada, an AWOL soldier, killed four Israeli Arabs when he opened fire on an Egged bus. The group was also referring to the incident in March 2006 when former policeman Haim Eliahu Havivi, 44, his wife Violet and their daughter Odelia, 20, went into the Nazareth church and threw firecrackers.
On Monday, Salah denied any Israeli or Jewish historical claim to Jerusalem, saying there never existed a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount.
“The claims of the Jews are big lies and they have no right to any speck of dust here,” he said.